Master Tools and Dies
Perhaps the most distinctive element of the Royal Mint Museum is the collection of some 30,000 master tools and dies. Apart from a handful of medieval coin dies, these run in unbroken sequence from the middle of the 17th century and relate to the coins and medals struck by the Royal Mint since that time.
Dies are used at the final stage of production to impress the design on a coin or medal, while the term master tools encompasses the preliminary tools such as reduction punches, matrices and working punches required to make the dies.
Browse highlights of the master tools and dies collection below.
The die for the obverse of the 1658 crown clearly displays a prominent crack across the lower half of Cromwell’s bust.
From the reign of Charles II there was a more systematic approach to retaining tools at the Royal Mint which finds early expression in a series of portrait punches.
This large die defied explanation for many years and were it not for a chance discovery of letters in the Birmingham City Archives they may well have remained a mystery.
Amongst the most spectacular items in the Museum are the dies for the Waterloo Medal.
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The basic minting process of melting, casting, blanking and striking is essentially timeless.
The objects in the Museum each represent a stage in the process of transforming a concept into a coin.
In the Museum we have several reducing machines which were once integral to the process of minting.